Women's Religious Activity in the Roman Republic

Women's Religious Activity in the Roman Republic

3.75 (4 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Expanding the discussion of religious participation of women in ancient Rome, Celia E. Schultz demonstrates that in addition to observances of marriage, fertility, and childbirth, there were more - and more important - religious opportunities available to Roman women than are commonly considered. Based on research in ancient literature, inscriptions, and archaeological remains from the fifth to the first century B.C.E., Schultz's study shows that women honored gods unaffiliated with domestic matters, including Hercules and Jupiter; they took part in commercial, military, and political rites; they often worshipped alongside men; and they were not confined to the private sphere, the traditional domain of women. The Vestal Virgins did not stand alone but were instead the most prominent members of a group of women who held high-profile religious positions: priestesses of Ceres, Liber, and Venus; the flaminica Dialis and the regina sacrorum; other cult officials; and aristocratic matrons who often took leading roles in religious observances even though they were not priestesses. Schultz argues that women were vital participants - both professional and nonprofessional - in the religion of the Roman Republic and that social and marital status, in addition to gender, were important factors in determining their opportunities for religious participation in the public sphere.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 248 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 21.59mm | 426.38g
  • Chapel Hill, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0807830186
  • 9780807830185
  • 2,025,987

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Schultz demonstrates that in addition to observances of marriage, fertility, and childbirth, there were more--and more important--religious opportunities available to Roman women than are commonly considered. Her study of ancient literature, inscriptions, and archaeological remains from the fifth to the first century B.C.E. shows that women honored gods unaffiliated with domestic matters, including Hercules and Jupiter; they took part in commercial, military, and political rites; they often worshipped alongside men; and they were not confined to the private sphere, the traditional domain of women.
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Review quote

"A valuable beginning . . . towards understanding how women's participation contributed to the wider picture of religious activity in the Republic."
-- "Journal of Roman Studies" "Makes a solid case for reexamining some long-held impressions about ancient Roman religion and the place of women within it."
-- "Historian" "This is an innovative study which will force a serious rethinking of established ideas on a major topic."
John North, University College London, Emeritus
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About Celia E. Schultz

CELIA E. SCHULTZ is assistant professor of classics at Yale University.
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Rating details

4 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
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4 0% (0)
3 25% (1)
2 25% (1)
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